01
Nov
11

Post-college plans? Yes, please.

In late September, I applied to the Disney College Program. I filled out my application, put down the jobs I would like to do, and then selected the time for my phone interview. Friday, 4:45. It was a Saturday. I had a whole, grueling week in which to worry about my inability to not cuss in any conversation and my tendency to vocally stumble a lot when talking on the phone. Seriously. I don’t like talking on the phone. I can’t read or control tones very well; body language I’m just fine with, but not tones. It’s a problem.

Luckily, Friday came eventually, and 3:30 found me sitting on my couch staring at my phone, trying to will it to be 4:45. Finally, 4:30 hit, and just as I was thinking, only fifteen minutes of waiting, my phone goes off. I jumped, grabbed it, and thought to immediately berate whichever dumb ass friend/family member of mine decided to call me fifteen minutes before my interview.

But it wasn’t a friend/family member. It was the interviewer. The time had finally come, and it was fifteen minutes early. For some reason, those fifteen minutes made me completely unprepared.

Luckily, I bounce back from things quickly, and soon enough I was standing up, pacing, gesticulating wildly, smiling, and generally doing everything I would in a normal, face-to-face conversation because I’ve been told that helps you sound more genuine. It worked. The interview went great. I called myself a grammar nerd and my interviewer and I bonded over teaching and language. I described some of my favorite photographs and my favorites things about photography. In the end, my interviewer said I sounded like a really exuberant person, and I said “I am a really exuberant person. I don’t understand being negative. It doesn’t sound fun.” So the interview ended, twenty minutes after it began.

Then came the real waiting. I wouldn’t find out for two weeks – two weeks! – if I got in or not, let alone what job I got or what park I’m going to. If I thought waiting for the interview took awhile, I clearly didn’t know the meaning of those words until this.

One day, during class, I checked my e-mail on my iTouch. There was something from the Disney College Program. The subject line said “Congratulations!” Immediately, I let out a screech and starting doing a combination chair-dance and fist-pump in jubilation. I’d got in. I had accomplished my goal.

My life has been nothing but sunshine and rainbows and kittens since. Seriously. You know that scene in Easy A, where Emma Stone is dancing and singing very loudly to Pocket Full of Sunshine? Well, the next week was spent like that.

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Seriously. Just like that.

I didn’t even care who I was talking to. I told everyone I knew. I filled out the housing payments – which are expensive for going to California – and put down my housing preferences, I chose my program dates, and all was good.

This past week was spent something like this,
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I’m a soon-to-be college graduate. I have six weeks left. I have my cap and gown, my apartment lease runs out in December, and there’s no way I’m not passing my classes.

And on January 8th, I’m going to Disneyland to work as a PhotoPass Photographer until August 18th. I get to stand outside, in the L.A. (well, Anaheim, but – semantics) sun, taking pictures of strangers and smugly thinking about all my Washington friends suffering through single-digit weather.

What will I be doing after this, when I have to enter the real world? Who knows, but for seven more months, I won’t have to worry about it. And that, above all, is a beautiful thing.

ETA: This is actually a more accurate portrayal of my reaction to getting the internship.

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26
Sep
11

The Night She Became the Devil

The Night She Became the Devil

To her, Halloween will forever be a mock-up of red: Red, flowing from her back; red, held in her hands; red, filling up her mouth, dripping down her front. Red not unlike the raspberry jam her family makes every summer, though it smelled less sweet, and tastes more like the pennies her mother told her not to suck on.

The week preceding the holiday finds her holding old arguments that hover, filled with helium and waiting to take down a plane.

“I don’ wanna be Red-Hood,” she’d said, glaring stubbornly up at her mother.

“But you want to wear the cape,” her mother responded, somewhere between a question and a statement. Her mother looked exasperated, trying to understand what it was that her daughter actually wanted. Sometimes, the girl had a problem explaining herself; despite the golden curls giving her a sweet appearance, she had a temper that rendered her speechless.

“Yes,” she said, not seeing why this was such a hard thing for her mother to grasp. They asked her to understand addition, when they had a hard time with this?

In the end, the five-year-old left her house with a red cape, a pair of red horns, and a red pitchfork, snapped off at the end. She didn’t know why it was broken; her mother had told her that it was probably one of her brothers. The girl found this answer terribly unsatisfying. She wanted someone to blame.

So she turned to her oldest brother for the answer as they walked to his friend’s house.

“Not sure,” was his response to her question. She could just see him shrugging his shoulders in the dying light. “I think Adam did it.”

“’Course he did,” she muttered, glaring at the ground. That sounded like him: Stupid.

Her brother wasn’t paying attention, though. His friend had answered the door, a big grin on his face. When he glanced down at her, his expression changed to irritation. She tilted her head up and looked at him haughtily in response, holding the pitchfork in front of her as if to threaten him. He rolled his eyes, turning back to her brother.

“I got something to show you,” he said, already walking to the stairs. Her brother told her to stay downstairs, then quickly followed his friend upstairs.

“Where’re your parents?” she yelled after them, trying not to pout. The boys stopped half-way up the steps.

“At a party,” her brother’s friend said. The two ran up the rest of the stairs, leaving her alone in the too-clean living room with its off-white colors. She kicked at the carpet. His parents always gave her cookies when she came over. And what was she supposed to do for however long it took them to do whatever it was they were doing? She wandered around the living room, twirling the pitchfork like she would a baton, staring at the way the walls seemed to expand outwards as they reached the ceiling. Their living room was huge. The one in her home was small and compact. She liked that. It made her feel secure. This one made her feel like she’d fall upwards at any moment.

She walked up to the glass door that lead to the backyard, where their little Westie was. “You look stupid,” she said to the dog, remembering how much her parents hated her grandma’s small dogs. “Prolly ‘cause you are stupid.” The dog cocked his head to the side. “See, stupid.”

She turned away from the window, holding the pitchfork out in front of her as though it lead the way. Then, flipping it around, she fingered the jagged point, wondering again how it had happened. Her brother had probably done something really stupid, as usual. He was dumber even than that dog out there. Always getting into trouble, or getting her into trouble. Maybe he jumped on it or something, trying to look cool for his even stupider friends. It didn’t work, of course. He just broke it, and stood there looking like an idiot. Ah-dumb, that’s what his name should’ve been.

Twirling the pitchfork slowly in her hand, she turned her attention to the forked end, watching as the red prongs seemed to meld into one as she spun it. She could do something way cooler than him with this pitchfork. Turning to face the window once more, she looked back out at the dog. “Bet I could breathe fire with it,” she said to the Westie. The dog put his little paws up on the window. “Bet I could,” she said again.

Determined, she stomped away to the other side of the room, readying herself. “Just watch,” she said. “I’ll breathe fire.” She put the end of it in her mouth, heart pounding, and ran forward, shaking the pitchfork back and forth as she did so. A smile creased her face. There, she was doing it – the red forks shook into one as she moved it, and it looked as if she was breathing fire, like she was really the devil, ready for a night of mischief and candy-stealing.

The dog barked, and there was a sudden pounding on the stairs. Surprised, she missed a step and tripped, falling forward, the pitchfork still held tightly between her teeth. She choked out a scream as she landed on it, the point of the plastic impaling the roof of her mouth. The pounding on the stairs turned thunderous, and then her brother and his friend were back, yelling something at her. Her brother pulled the pitchfork out, and the taste of pennies filled her mouth.

“What were you doing? Are you stupid?” he said. She just shook her head, refusing to open her mouth, staring at the bloodied pitchfork. Tears filled her eyes, more at her brother’s name-calling than the pain. Stupid. Just like her other brother.

At least she’d breathed fire, though, even for a moment. At least she had that on him.

07
Aug
11

Thrilling Moose Adventures of the Third Kind

When my parents and I got to my aunt’s cabin up on Togwotee Pass, the first thing my aunt did was tell us about this moose that had been wandering around the yard last night and that morning. She even had pictures to show, and let me tell you, I was immediately jealous. I’d never seen a moose so close before, and she had a picture of a cow and her calf right up next to her front door!

The moose wasn’t there at the moment, but my aunt told us that she usually came around at nightfall. So we went down for a walk to the nearby river, where my aunt fly fishes. A part of the ground next to the river was a sort of brushy marsh land; the ground was saturated with water, and you sunk into it if you went too far into the brush. It was in there that my dad spied a brown mass of fur. He said it was fairly low down and a sort of lighter brown, not a dark chocolate – near the color of the calf.

Try as we might, we couldn’t see it. We went back to the cabin, ate, and settled down for the night (mostly because mosquitoes were eating us alive). The next morning, I was woken up to my mom excitedly saying “Lindsay! There’s a moose outside!” I immediately rolled to get off the bed – and almost fell to the floor, since I was on the top bunk of a bunk bed – and ran to the window.

The most adorable thing you could ever wake up to.

There they were, a moose cow and her calf. They were hanging around a salt block my aunt’s neighbor had put out.

The calf was decidedly more interested in me than the salt.

Eventually, the cow and calf wandered off into the treeline. I guess they were tired of being models. We didn’t see them again until that night, when we watched the cow chase off another moose – it was so dark that we couldn’t see if it was a bull or a cow, but our answer came the next morning.

A cow, though definitely larger than the first.

I guess the cow and her calf decided to stay away from the area with this one hanging around, because we didn’t see those two again. This cow hung around for the rest of the weekend. On Sunday, when we were driving back up the drive to the cabin, we had to stop because the moose had stepped out onto the path. I hadn’t really appreciated the size of the creature before this. The moose was barely ten feet away, and towered over us in our car. We were in my parent’s Trailblazer. Trailblazers are fairly big. This moose was a good three inches bigger.

And then another car came down the drive from the opposite direction, and she bolted towards us. My dad quickly put the car in reverse, and luckily the cow turned and went behind my aunt’s cabin. We wasted no time in pulling up in front of the cabin, getting out of the car and going to watch her. I, of course, had to get another picture, and threw caution to the wind this time.

Closer than you should really ever get to a wild animal.

She wandered around the cabin for a good hour or so before finally wandering away. We didn’t see any more moose, and the next day we left. But I think, giving the heart-pounding moment we had when the moose ran at our car, we saw enough moose to last us some time.

06
Aug
11

Soshone National Forest

A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip with my parents to the mountains of Wyoming, where my aunt owns a cabin. It was a great trip, for many reasons. I got to see my mom’s side of the family, got to go to a state I’d never been to before, saw some moose – but mostly, it was a great trip because of the gorgeous scenery we found ourselves in.

A view of the Tetons, just outside Jacksonhole, Wyoming.

My aunt's cabin in Togwotee Pass, at 8,500 ft elevation.

We were right between Teton National Forest and Shoshone National Forest; technically, Togwotee (Toe-go-tee) Pass is in the Teton National Forest, but by the time we reached the turn-off for the cabin we had entered Shoshone National Forest.

Brooks Lake

The mountain ridge we hiked around at Brooks Lake.

We could have actually climbed those mountains, but the climb we went on was hard enough. I don’t know what elevation we hit at this point, but by the end of the hike we were at 9,000 feet.

Not quite 9,000 feet, and we found our first mound of snow. This was in the middle of July, mind you. Pictured here is my mother.

We had a bit of a snowball fight here. My Uncle Ron hit my dad in the arm with a snowball. So I turned around and hit my Uncle Ron in the chest with a snowball in retaliation. Good times.

Upper Jade Lake, covered in ice.

There was a guy ice fishing on this lake. That’s how frozen it was. After this point, we had to turn around and go back the way we came. The snow bank came all the way down to the edge of the ice-covered lake, and no one wanted to slip and fall in. As it was, we had to walk through a good mile of snow to get here and back. It was kind of ridiculous. We kept falling through the snow, and on the way back the snow had melted enough that I just skated over it like a penguin.

That hike was exhausting; we went a good four miles, two of which was in the snow. It was worth it, though.

The next day, we went to see some falls. This was close to my aunt’s cabin – close enough for my grandmother to come, which I think she enjoyed. The falls really were beautiful.

I can't remember the name of these falls, but they were gorgeous. And intense, due to all the late spring run-off.

All the pictures I’m giving you for now. The moose I saw deserve their own post, and their own story, I think. All in all, it was an excellent trip. My aunt’s cabin was the type of place writers dream of going to work on their books/poems/what-have-you. It was freezing at night, and there were mosquitoes galore, but it was gorgeous and the air was so crisp and clean… I never wanted to leave.

03
Aug
11

Just a quick hello.

Well, I kind of disappeared again, didn’t I? Financial stress can do that to a person. It obviously does that to me. I realized recently though that my last post left off with me informing you that I was going to a cabin in the woods, where I may or may not get eaten by a bear/candarian demons. Well, I am here to assure you now that I most certainly did not get eaten by either creature. I did almost get run over by a moose, though, so that was exciting.

I have a bunch of pictures from the trip to show off, which I will do some day very soon. I’ve spent the past week being good and going on a walk across town to various locations to work on writing. Or to go to my friend’s place to watch Doctor Who. There has been much Doctor Who marathoning in my life recently. It’s been great. Matt Smith is adorable and incredibly cool (as is his bow tie), and season five and six have sufficiently blown my mind. Pretty intense stuff there.

Anyways, this was just a quick post to say “hey look, I’m not dead yet!” Got called in to work a cashier shift today, so I’m working on eating and then heading off to that pretty soon here. I’ll give you guys a more substantial post tomorrow, promise!

14
Jul
11

My Top Five Traveling Books

Today I head out to a cabin in the woods (ooooh, cabin in the woods yeaahhhh) in Dubois, WY. My parents are swinging to pick me up by on their way to Dubois, where we’ll be meeting up with my family on my mom’s side – my Grandma, my Aunt Jan and Uncle Ron, and my Aunt Leslie who owns the cabin. It should be pretty fun; lots of hiking and stalking Crowheart, WY for Matthew Fox and hopefully not being attacked by a bear or Candarian Demons. I think the last one is particularly fearful, but as we’re not five college students on our way to a cabin in the woods I feel pretty solid in the fact that it won’t happen.

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I think it’s safe to assume that I will not be attacked by my own hand.

As I’m packing up, I’m looking through my bookshelves (note the plural) for books to take along this trip. Like most fanatic readers, I would much rather be taking along new books to read, but this isn’t an option for me this trip. I am a broke college student; I can’t just go out and buy books whenever I please. And while I do have a few unread books that I have borrowed from a friend, they are far too bulky to be packing. When I go on a trip, I like to take books that I can easily carry around with me because you never know when you’re going to get some downtime. Plus, traveling light is always traveling better.

So here are my Top Five Traveling Books,

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The Sincerest Form by Nicholas Delbanco

I have recently taken to bringing this book with me everywhere. It’s not so much because it’s a great read, but because it’s a great resource for writing. This is what puts it into my top five – it’s nice to have a writer’s resource book on hand, because you never know what you’ll need to keep yourself moving with a story.

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The Sight by David Clement-Davies

One of my favorite wolf fiction books of all time. It’s probably just below White Fang on that list. No matter how many times I read it, I always enjoy coming back to it, and it’s a great book for me to take along when I’m traveling. This is an adventure book in and of itself, about wolves that go on a great journey to discover themselves. What better book could you want to on a trip? The only problem I have is that my copy is a hardback, and hardbacks are significantly heavier than paperbacks. They’re also not as easy to curl up with when you’re in a car or on a plane.

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American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Usually this would be my second favorite book, but the thickness of it definitely brings it down. It’s not as easy to tote around as others. It is, however, a book that I can read over and over again and still gleam something new from it. Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors, and this is the best book of his that I have read (and I’ve read all of them). American Gods also has the bonus of being about one of my favorite subjects – the idea that gods are real because we made them real. It’s also a travel book in and of itself; I like to describe American Gods as a road novel, because that’s really what it is – it’s a book that discovers America, and all the weird, cooky things we find just off the road.

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

It was actually on a trip that I first read this book. I bought this, Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies for a trip to Yellowstone the summer I turned 16. Read all three on the way there and then read them again on the way back. Fahrenheit 451 stands to be my favorite of the three; the idea of a world where book reading is viewed as evil and firefighters work to burn those books? Absolutely appalling, and I could not put it down. Clarisse is probably one of my favorite literary characters of all times; I wanted to be her after I read this book.

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White Fang by Jack London

This is by far my favorite book – pretty sure it would make number one no matter what the list was for. Unless it was a list about favorite movie adaptations of books, because the White Fang movies suck. I first read this book when I was in third grade, and I still own that same copy; it is rather torn up, the binding is falling apart from the amount I’ve read it, the pages are curled and yellowing. This book has basically turned into my Security Blanket. I take it with me whenever I go on a trip, just to have something familiar to turn to. I also feel like White Fang could most certainly protect me from anything, even Candarian demons.

So there you have it. My top five traveling books. I generally take at least one of these with me when I go on the road. I think this trip calls for White Fang and The Sight. It doesn’t hurt to tote along the spirit of really intense fighters and protectors when you’re going out to a cabin in the woods.

14
Jul
11

Flash Fiction Day 13: Highway Divider

The truck lay on its side, oranges scattered across the highway – thicker around the bed of the truck, and slowly thinning out farther away, barely reaching the identical buildings on either side. Next to the truck was a car – four-door Sudan, blue. A clutch. The rear door and trunk were curled into a concave shape roughly the size and texture of the truck grill. A woman stood next to the car’s front door, having just managed to squeeze herself out of it as the hinge has been permanently pressed inward. She is holding a towel to her head and staring off into the distance. The driver of the orange truck stood next to his vehicle, glaring at the ground, the oranges, and, most frequently, the woman.

Around the scene, the people of the small town father on both sides. They litter the road like the oranges, muttering to those next to them and gesturing emphatically to the vehicles, the drivers, and the oranges. Some of the people move closer, but they stop a few feet from the yellow line marking the two lanes of the highway. They glance across the road at the others, fear in their eyes and contempt in their curling lips.

A man on one side bends down to pick up an orange. “Put that orange down! It’s evidence!” a woman from the other side says, wide-eyed as she points at the man. All around, heads turn to stare at them both. The man holds onto the fruit.

“Evidence? It’s a damn orange!” he responds, shifting his legs as if for a fight.

“Leave it to a digger to think that. You people don’t understand nothin’ about the law,” a man on the other side says, sneering. There are murmurs of agreement from his side of the crowd. The accused glare at them, but are silent for a moment.

“Yeah, and leave it to a legi to cause an accident. Ruined this whole shipment!” another man shouts, stepping closer to the line. He points accusingly at the woman driver. She stares at him and then quickly looks off into the distance again, shifting her feet.

“And what’s that supposed to mean?” a man from the other side says. He is gritting his teeth, curling his hands into fists.

“You know very well!” a woman responds. “You-all spend too much time sittin’ on your asses in your precious hall than behind the wheel. Don’t right know how to drive.” Shouts go up from the other side, followed by shouts from her side. People start forward, some shoving up sleeves, others just glaring and lifting their lips in animalistic snarls at the others across the way.

The sound of sirens tearing down the highway seems to blast them back to their respective sides, well away from the yellow divider. Turning, the crowd watches the blue-red pass the mirror of the general store, bank, library, and automotive store. The cops slow down when they pass the single legislature/town hall and skid to a stop, turning their cars to block the road from potential traffic.

As the police get out, the crowd shuffles away and thins out. A few people look over their shoulders to glare at those on the other side as they leave.

[I was thinking about oranges and memory, and somehow got this piece. My mind is a mystery even to me sometimes. This comes in at 544 words.]




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